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Jan 15, 2009 06:24 PM

baccala/bacalao or italian grocer, eastside?


Anyone know of a good italian market on the eastside (near highland park or pasadena preferred)? I want to get some dried salt cod and I don't really want to go to offense to wholefoods....and some nice polenta.....mmmm!


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  1. A little east of Pasadena and a tad south is Claro's, Valley Blvd. & San Gabriel). Claro's will have everything you need for sure, get aquainted with them, they are the best. In Glendale there is Mario's, they are okay but do not have near the selection as Claro's. Burbank has Monte Carlo Bakery & Deli, good, better than Mario's but still pale to Claro's. Now for Italian baked goods and the tomato foccacio bread you need to get to Eagle Rock Italian Bakery, great desserts and sandwiches plus the famous foccacio that comes out of the oven at 11:00 on saturday. Ciao

    1. You can make polenta the way Italian housewives do -- with cornmeal and liquid (water, broth, whatever your liking is). Any grocery store has cornmeal. :)

      For baccala my suggestion would be Claro's, which has a branch in Arcadia as well.

      1. Claro's does not have baccala on a regular basis, only around Christmas. A lot of the Latino markets have salt fish, not so much cod anymore as it's getting fished out, but salt SOMETHING that's better than nothing. And there are I think five Claro's stores; the one I usually go to is on Huntington Drive in Arcadia. If you go to their website you'll get addresses for all of them. Hot tip: their pre-made sandwiches are a serious bargain and really good. Hot tip 2: they're closed on Sunday and Wednesday.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Will Owen

          thanks for the tips on claro's, bboy and will. I just went there and it was great. hmmm, not sure about the arcadia location, but people at the san gabriel store say they always have baccala so that is good. and a great selection of semolina- semolina gnocchi being one of my most favorite foods- i even found the borlotti i have been looking for for ages!

          i always go to the super king which is half latin half armenian and they do not carry salt fish of any kind, strange. i will keep looking if you say so though.

          1. re: bouvard

            I thought I had always seen it at the San Gabriel location. I am boycotting the Arcadia location because that is the one I used to go to to get supples for dinner with my ex. Yeah, I am crazy............. I also like that the owner seems to always be at the San Gabriel location.

            1. re: bouvard

              Well, thank YOU, bouvard, for setting me straight on the baccala at the SG store! That is really wonderful news. When I was doing research for salt-cod dishes I could make for Christmas Eve, I found more than enough to make me want to try them all year around. Lovely stuff!

              Neither the Super King nor the King Ranch in Pasadena have any bacalao, but the King Ranch in Monrovia does - I think it's all pollock these days, though that is a good bit cheaper.

              1. re: Will Owen

                If it's truly cod you want and you're willing to drive (meaning it's not remotely close to Hollywood or the Eastside), they ALWAYS have it on hand at La Espanola Meats in Harbor City. The problem is getting out of there without $100 in "DO WANT" impulse purchases.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  It is so easy to drop a hundred, although last time I got out with a sandwich and a $20 bollte of wine, I was so happy.

          2. Check
            Roma Italian Deli & Grocery
            918 N Lake Ave
            Pasadena, CA 91104
            (626) 797-7748

            2 Replies
            1. re: LisaN

              Good call!, I love the old guy. I have seen it there, but can not remeber if it was christmas or what time of year.

              1. re: Burger Boy

                I was in there around then - the joint was packed, all those 80-year old women in black dresses Mr. Gold had warned me about - but I got to look in the case and everywhere else, and unless he had it hidden away he didn't have any. Too bad. Of course now that the rush is over I could just drop in and ask...

            2. I’m not sure about the polenta but here is a place in east Hollywood where you can find bacalao.

              Catalina's Market
              1070 N Western Avenue
              Los Angeles, CA 90029
              323) 464-3595

              This is a small Argentinian-Italian grocer with a good deli and a meat counter which has an excellent variety of sausages made in-house. They also have a limited selection of hot take-out foods and tasty sandwiches made to order. There is a small customer parking lot next door. The downside is that the place looks kinda run down and is located in a gritty neighborhood.